I have recently just started working from home and the past week has just been an absolute blur. Not only was my day already jammed packed to begin with: kids routines, house chores, cooking, homework and the lot, I’m having to factor in time for me to sit down and really do what I love – which is writing.
I have two girls. Everyday I would daydream about the day when I can sit at my laptop churning articles, with my legs propped up, and things around the house would get done at a lift of a finger. Well, one can dream right?
Reality is.. a mountain of a laundry is waiting to be folded, toys are scattered every where, I haven’t started thinking what’s for lunch, the two year old is wailing for booby time, and right this moment I’m mastering the art of typing with one hand because she thinks clinging on to my left arm is fun.
Overwhelmed you think? Especially when I don’t have any extra help at home? Procrastinating and whining about it isn’t going to get me anywhere, so I’ve learned to (by any means possible) get the kids to do their part. I cannot guarantee these to be full proof and I by the time you finish reading what sneaky tricks I have up my sleeves, you would think I was looney.
Introduce a common GOAL
The kids’ favourite aunt is coming and the house is a state, and I tell them exactly that. “Don’t you want the house to be nice and clean when Aunt J comes? Surely you wouldn’t want Aunt J to be staying in a dirty house?”
I know I’m selling her out here, but really for me, anything goes. Plus I tell the kids they get bragging rights after. Now if only I can convince Aunt J to come by more often for this to work.
‘Natural sibling rivalry’ or in my case – ‘influence’
My youngest is 2 and the eldest is almost 6. So the gap doesn’t really allow for much rivalry, but I do note that the che-che is great influence.
You may have read some parenting pages suggesting picking out chores out of a container, and I can tell you right now, that cannot work for me because of their age gap. What my 6 year old can do in terms of chores, my 2 year old has trouble understanding.
But what we CAN do is tell the younger to emulate her che-che, because she really does look up to her. So when it comes to cleaning up, you will hear me say this a lot: “See? Follow che-che. Just like che-che.”
Make it a race – set a timer
My eldest is really competitive and loves it when everything’s a race or a game. So I literally time her on my watch when she puts away the folded laundry. From the sitting room where I have the folded laundry neatly in a pile, she gets to run back and forth to the bedrooms.
I would challenge her to beat her current time, followed with cheers, praises and hoots. She gets to race, expel some energy and I’m happy the laundry is put away. Win – win I think.
Show them teamwork
We actually have a song for this. Do you know The Wonder Pets song on Nick Jr. – What’s Going to Work? Teamwork? We would sing it as we do group chores like cleaning up all the toys. I know it seems silly but it makes it fun and cheery the kids forget they are actually doing chores.
I usually get both kids to put away socks and undies that I have balled up and because they can’t possibly hold so many in their hands, I let them use their t-shirts like pouch. The kids have so much fun doing this: pretending to be kangaroos hopping and delivering balls of socks and undies to the right drawers.
Other times they would use a toy shopping cart and pretend that they are putting the socks into display drawers. Give them fun scenarios to act out and the chores will be done before you know it.